“Women Upliftment, the awakening of the masses must come first, and then can any real good come about for the country, for India”.
When they clad themselves in red Bandhani sarees beating kettle drums amidst the villages the whole community stood awestruck. After their household chores and field work, this club of 12 women come together to practice their music daily. They set on a musical journey that relieves their soul and gives them an identity, independence, and happiness.
This band of women is popularly known as “Nari Gunjan Sargam Mahila Band” and comprise women aged 25-60-year-old. Formed by the Padmashree awardee, Sudha Varghese, CEO of “Nari Gunjan”, a non-profit organization that works with the Musahar and Mahadalit communities in Bihar addressing issues of rights, education, livelihood and violence against women this band was recognized in the year 2000. Gradually it starts receiving the attention of many people across the country.
These women are from Dhibra village, Danapur is a perfect example of women upliftment. “Women are doing so many things. They are driving autos, helicopters then why not we beat the drums and do some music”, Savitri Devi, the band lead stated. Trained under Aditya Gunjan Kumar, a music teacher from Patna for almost 8 months these women are capable of performing in weddings, events, educational institutions, and luxurious hotels too since July last year. They didn’t fail to receive attention and appreciation from their audiences.
Initially, these group of women was mocked by their own husbands and fellow villagers. But they were firm on their decision of focusing on the goal of their upliftment. Few of their husbands supported and encouraged them but the majority of the women had to undergo domestic violence. Someone rightly said, “Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been, to stand up taller than you were ever before”.
Being a helping hand to their husbands to make ends meet at home they also want to set an example of ideal women. Each woman earns at least 500- 1000 rupees but unfortunately this hasn’t been their regular income yet.
They beat their drums loud to attract the villagers.Their music reaches to the doors of women in distress. This is a great alternative opportunity for the women at the time of minimal agricultural work.
The “Nari Gunjan Sargam Mahila Band” are beating their drums so loud so that people not only from Bihar but the whole country can hear and tap their feet onto their beats. So let’s encourage our women to work to have a nation in progress.